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photo credit: schoolfinder.com newsletter

Classes started again yesterday. After weeks of beautiful weather, time with family and close friends, weddings, travel, creative projects, and just hanging out, I went back to school. It was a bit of a shock to my system, to say the least. It feels like I was taking a leisurely stroll and suddenly slammed into a brick wall. Although if I said I was taking a leisurely stroll and then out of nowhere decided to run a marathon after 2 months of not training, it would probably be a more apt analogy. At any rate, it’s intense and I am exhausted.

The Quebec government is to blame for my initiation of fire: 8 hours of class on day 1. Because of the election on Tuesday, all classes at McGill were cancelled and so we had extra hours tacked on to the ends of several subsequent days. I wasn’t impressed with the endless hours of lectures, and after Tuesday it feels like this province has hit a brick wall too, in a way. Although I can’t say I’m thoroughly unhappy with the election results. Make no mistake – I am by no means a PQ supporter. They are in fact my least favourite of a bunch of unfavourable parties. But I am happy about the minority (I hope it DOES tie Pauline Marois’s hands behind her back), and I am trying to be sparingly optimistic about at least having someone new in power… though I’m not sure how long that will last. It will depend very much on what comes next. The optimism was admittedly draining (drained?) from my soul when I heard about the shooting at the PQ party on Tuesday night, but I am trying to hold on to hope, trying to believe that they may bring something valuable to the table.

For now, what’s getting me through the fall is my pumpkin cupcakes. I did some serious baking during my last weekend of summer, and I am enjoying the harvest of that effort.  I was pleased, too, because I created something new! I modified a favourite recipe from a former roommate for Glazed Pumpkin Loaf by omitting the chocolate chips and nixing the glaze. Instead, I opted for a homemade vanilla icing that I smeared on my pumpkin-only flat-ish cupcakes (alas, loaf doesn’t rise) after they had cooled. They are absolutely delicious… especially paired with pumpkin spice tea, a gift from said roommate (we share a minor obsession with both tea and pumpkins).

I have always loved the fall; it is my favourite season. Crisp air and crisp apples, beautiful leaves and back-to-school shopping. Every September I looked forward to going back to school, until this year. Evidence of what an epic summer this was – I will surely never forget it. But with my pumpkin cupcakes, I can still somewhat cheerfully welcome a new season. And maybe, just maybe, I (and we) can climb over this wall and find an orchard on the other side.